Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Where am I?

Where am I ... is a question I could ask myself. I mean, I know I'm here, in Santa Barbara, but it's not where I expected to be. I thought, by this stage of the game, I'd be someplace else: up north, living in a cabin near Mt. Shasta and writing my memoirs. I thought I'd be hiking in the rustic canyons of Sisque County and taking regular trips to Ashland Oregon and Medford, for stimulation and to replenish my supplies.

Santa Barbara was not a place I planned to stay. I thought it would be a step, a rest point, the kind of place you stay for awhile, and then, look back at and remember. When I first arrived, 30 years ago, I took photographs, copious photographs, and I imagined that I would look at them in those days after I had moved on. I pictured myself sitting in an attic bedroom on a large, overstuffed chair, perusing photos of this city: the coral skies behind the harbor; the zig-zag peaks of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the lofty palms at Chase Palm Park; and as I did, I would settle so deeply into my skin that my memories would become palpable, and I would say to myself, "Aneet, you did it -- you lived there. Thank you for that gift."

Friday, April 22, 2011


Even though I'm back now, in Santa Barbara, I still feel the echoes of Joshua Tree, the sense of its great quiet, and its space.

I think about the rocks, how their patterns and textures were infinitely surprising; and that so much of what I saw had the quality of abstract art. The proportions of the rocks too -- some of them 500 feet tall -- inspired awe. I recall walking through the park, drinking in the majesty of everything around me and thinking, "This is an exhibit of the world's greatest artist."

And so, I share with you one of the park's most stunning sights: the statuesque stone above. It stands 8 feet tall. I viewed the stone from near and far; it appeared different from every angle, but always magnificent, and always conveying the sense of having a living presence.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Emulating Alice

I'm thinking about the theme of my blog: "Santa Barbara Sketches," and the fact that this month it would be fitting to call it "Sketches of Joshua Tree National Monument" instead. I've been here twice recently: first, for five days, followed by a four day break; and then, for seven, which expanded into fifteen when I realized I still hadn't had my fill of this place. And all of those commitments on my Santa Barbara calendar--appointments and meetings which I value (and which will likely, and hopefully, be there next month and the following month as well), and my mail piling up day after day--couldn't justify my leaving here.

Joshua Tree is a wonderland, where I just happened to have landed this year, for the first time, in the heart of spring

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Five Views of The Claret Cup Cactus in praise of National Poetry Month

Oh, little cactus
tucked in shadow
lost in camouflage
I overlooked you at first.
But within the desert's myriad shades of gray
a patterned texture scratched my attention
and drew me in.
That's when I saw them:
your buds--
scarlet knots twisted tightly
in the grasp of your thorns.

And when it came time to leave,
I couldn't bear to turn away
from the promise of your flowers;
and so, I'm back,
scaling ramps and mounds of rock and stone,
seeking out your hidden enclaves
for the bounty of your blooms.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Running away from home...

Santa Barbara is one of the last places you'd want to run away from. That is, if you don't have allergies. This year, after rains, that were paced in such a way as to bring everything and anything that could bloom to the surface, my allergies struck with a vengeance.

My plan was to buy some time away from Santa Barbara's blossoms with a trip to the desert, before house-sitting for my dear daughter Erin, who lives on the border of Beverly Hills. But, after happily tending to my two grandcats: Charles (who you met in November,) and Ruby, his moody and elusive cohort,

when my house-sitting stint was up, I found myself not ready to return to the riot of Santa Barbara's furious foliage. So, I changed my plans and extended my trip.

Now, as I enjoy the freedom and adventure of being on the road, I'll share a few images I found on Highway 10, while making my exit from L.A.

* Double click on the first image below to see downtown L.A. and find the dirigible.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Salute to Dr. John Barrett Clapinger

One of our viewers, Joseph Hecht, alerted me to this video -- perfect for our first day of April.